Earth Day- Free Upcycling Curriculum


by Mark Schreiber -

Earth Day 2015 is coming so celebrate it by having your students upcycle!  And to help you out, I'm giving you a free upcycling curriculum.  

Here are the 4 easy steps:

  1. Download the free Design Case Curriculum PDFs using this link. (I'm making this opensource under the creative commons now so feel free to pass it along) and unzip it.  (see quick start below)
  2. Go to your local bike shop, climbing wall, upholstery shop, etc. and ask for some of their hard-to-recycle items like rubber tubs, old ropes, discarded fabric, corks, burlap, etc.
  3. Use the activities in the Design Case Curriculum to help your students create a new upcycled product.
  4. Post comments, pictures, or ideas below or on the Design Case Pintrest board.

Have a great Earth Day, if you have any questions feel free to use the comment section below.

Since the curriculum was meant to come with a box of sample materials here is a little quick start guide to help you get going:

  • You'll find 7 .pdfs labeled ATeacher_Sections, and then BTopic1, CTopic2 and so on.  Start with A and work your way through.
  • The student sheets to help guide them through the activity can be found in Topic 1, 2, 3 and 4.
    • Some items will require extra work since this is only the written part of the Design Case Curriculum.  If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below.
  • You will find a student sheet 2-6 that has a set of activity cards. The original curriculum shipped out with pre-printed cards with pictures of various materials, activities, and locations.  The idea is to have your students brainstorm on random combinations of the cards.
    • I would suggest having your students create their own cards, put them all in piles and have groups blindly draw 1 location, 1 material, and 1 action card to brainstorm on.
    • If you would rather have your own set of printed cards let me know and I can try to send you the files so that you may print them.
  • There is 1 sample Material Data Sheet for your viewing.  I find it very helpful for students to do a little research on each of their materials and collect stats on them.  What is vulcanized rubber? How much is thrown away?  Why?  What are the properties of these various materials?
    • Here are some ideas for material research: Bike tires, wetsuits, astro turf, cork, constructions waste, e-waste, burlap, textile waste, climbing ropes, conveyor belts, circuit boards, fire hose, CDs and other obsolete media.

I hope you all enjoy this free upcycling and design curriculum!


Creative Commons License
Design Case Curriculum by Mark Schreiber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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Anonymous's picture

I look forward to trying some of these project with my students!  I have also blogged it on my site

Erin Riley's picture

Mark, this is fantastic!  Thank you for sharing.  I plan on using this with one of our lab groups next year.